In the new Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the primary presumption is that God has designated the leaders in this movement as modern-day apostles and prophets. They lean on Ephesians 4:11-13 for their Scriptural basis:
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [pastors] and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
NAR declares that all of these offices that were operational at the time of the original apostles themselves are to likewise function today. They imply that from the end of the first century until recently, the church missed this command of God to keep the offices of apostle and prophet going forward. As a result, NAR is setting it right through the men and women who have been decreed legitimate to hold these sacred positions. In fact, all churches and all pastors should come under the authority of apostles and prophets in NAR’s thinking.
Much can be said about this, but I’d like to simply comment on one aspect. In the Old Testament, the Lord made some interesting statements about false prophets in Ezekiel 13:
Verse 3: “Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”
Verse 6: “They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word.”
Verses 8-9: “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations.”
Finally, Deuteronomy 18:21-22 has a definitive word:
“And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”
The words a prophet speaks in the Name of God MUST come to pass. This is an absolute criterion for a prophet. Otherwise, as the Ezekiel verses show, the prophets are following their own spirits, having seen false visions and lying divinations. God has not sent them and they have seen nothing.
The issue of seeing is crucial. Multiple references in Scripture tell us that true prophets of God actually stood in His presence, among the Divine Council of the heavenly host and witnessed the goings-on in the spiritual realm.
Speaking of false prophets, Jeremiah 23:18 says:
“For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?”
A couple of verses later in Jeremiah 23:22, he says:
“But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.”
Here is Daniel 7:9 with the same idea:
“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.”
Similarly, in 1 Kings 22:19, the prophet Micaiah states:
“Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left.”
This is not allegory or symbolism. True prophets were brought into the very throne room of God. They stood and saw and heard the interchanges between God and the many spiritual entities present as they spoke and considered what should occur on earth. It is for this reason that they reported the truth. They had seen it. They had heard it. It came from the mouth of God Himself.
With that in mind, what is it that NAR prophets and apostles say regarding their prophecies? Are you ready?
The New Apostolic Reformation prophets and apostles can misspeak. They can utter prophecies that do not come to pass. What they declare may be in error, and that’s okay.
Can anyone see what’s wrong with this picture?
God’s Word says that false prophets follow their own spirits or have been given lying spirits from the unseen realm. Obviously, if they had actually stood in the presence of God, they would have reported the truth. Since they speak that which God has not declared, they do not stand in His heavenly throne room and witness the interchanges among the spiritual beings who are present.
A single false prophecy disqualifies a prophet from being of God. If the word does not come to pass, the Lord has not spoken it and the prophet is speaking presumptuously.
Just to be fair (kind of), some of the NAR luminaries have said that they have visited Jesus and spent time in heaven. If this is so, then how is it that these same teachers bring unbiblical concepts to their people (of which, there are many; among them: eschatological heresies about God’s kingdom, the seven-mountain mandate, prayer walking to dismantle territorial strongholds, healing can be taught, and so on)? Wouldn’t they quake in their boots presuming to bring such false ideas? Just asking.
What about NAR apostles? One of the key tests of a New Testament apostle was that he walked with Jesus and saw the risen Christ. Paul was the sole exception as one born out of time, and he was clearly labeled an apostle in Scripture. Do any of these NAR folks who claim apostleship have this distinction of having interacted with Jesus in these circumstances? Somehow, I doubt it.
Given the Word of God, NAR has a problem. Very likely, the vast majority (if not all?) of their prophets and apostles who presume to speak for God are false. They may get some things right, but one single false prophecy, and the prophet is false. This demolishes the entire structure of their movement. They are leading many people astray by pretending to come in the Name of the Lord. It’s a dangerous situation. Those who follow these false prophets are likely to become scattered sheep without a true shepherd. The men and women leading this movement taking these titles are placing themselves in great jeopardy with God. God judges leaders more strictly than others. The Word says that those who mislead will be judged harshly.
When we come up against this deviant movement, we need to stand against it, call the leaders out, and urge those who follow NAR teachings to repent. Otherwise, we who have this knowledge and don’t use it are like the watchman who doesn’t sound the alarm (Ezekiel 33:6).
The New Apostolic Reformation is a danger to far too many churches. It needs our Godly and educated opposition.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for two novels: The Tattooed Cat and Alien Revelation. He has recently released Looking Up – Volume 3, a non-fiction work that contains essays and devotions on end-times and prophetic events. Gary’s intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read. You can reach him at his website: www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol.